5 Quintessential San Diego Date Night Ideas

Distillerista-Date-Night-Ideas-3{ can’t go wrong with fish tacos & rosé}

Blue Water Fish Tacos by the bay… Make like a local and call ahead to place your to-go taco order at Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill. Grab a bottle of rosé at Pali or Vino Carta en route to swoop your tacos (skip the line and walk straight up to the register if you called ahead!), then head to either Spanish Landing or Cancer Survivor’s Park along the Bay. Plenty of benches and picnic tables make for a sweet, low-key dinner al fresco. Pro-tip: time it right so the sun is setting as you’re polishing off the last bites!

Distillerista-Date-Night-Ideas-1{ my go-to poke order: half white rice, half greens, salmon, creamy spicy sauce, furikake, scallions & jalapeños! }

Poke @ Kate Sessions… Head to Pacific Beach for one of two favorite poke spots: Poke Chop (Shout out to Whitney for the rec! We’re obsessed!) or Good Time Poke. Grab a couple bowls to go and drive up the hill to perhaps my favorite spot in all of San Diego, Kate Sessions Park! The views of downtown and Mission Bay are breathtaking and the serene, sloping lawn provides plenty of space to camp out on a blanket. Pro-tip: don’t forget to pack that 6-pack of your favorite craft beer.

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{ throw it on the grill and you’re done: flat iron for two, sweet peppers and broccolini }

Tour Specialty Produce & cook a meal at home… I kid you not when I say I want my ashes spread at Specialty Produce. This place turns me into a kid in a candy store! Specialty Produce is a massive wholesale produce supplier for San Diego county’s restaurant scene but is open to the public as well. Walk in during their public hours, sign in, grab some gloves and produce bags and ask one of the plentiful and friendly staff for a tour of the different rooms, walk-ins, and aisles. They carry all the basics you find at the grocery store (both conventional and organic/farmer’s market) plus tons of not-so-basic ingredients like carrots, cauliflower, beets, and peppers in every color of the rainbow. And that’s just a scratch on the surface. You name it, they have it! Take advantage of their vast selection and grab those exotic ingredients called for in that recipe you’ve had bookmarked forever.

_MGM8189{ mix like the pros after a cocktail making class! // photo cred :) }

Cocktail Making Class + East Village Cocktail Crawl… If you’re a cocktail enthusiast or budding mixologist, head to downtown distillery  You & Yours Distilling Co. for a cocktail making class (offered on the third Wednesday of every month, from 6:30 to 8 pm). Attendees will learn how to measure, shake, stir and pour drinks as well as have the opportunity to make and enjoy two cocktails, all while learning a brief history of the drinks being made. Once you’ve mastered the tricks of the trade, pop around the neighborhood for a few of my favorite cocktails!

Stand Up Paddle Board & Brunch… Though technically a better day date idea, if you’re looking for something a little more active, rent paddle boards at my favorite rental shop and cruise around the Americas Cup Harbor. I prefer this spot for SUP because it’s nice and quiet, usually pretty flat and there’s so much to see! I love looking at all the boats and paddling out of the harbor and around to Shoreline Park where you can post up at the small sandy beach in front of Humphreys for a breather. After your morning paddle, grab brunch (and perhaps bottomless mimosas?) at Jimmy’s Famous Tavern next door.

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Cocktail Crawl: East Village San Diego

EAST-VILLAGE-COCKTAIL-CRAWL{ a sampling of cocktails at newly opened You & Yours Distilling Co. }

Not that long ago venturing past 8th or 9th street was an at-your-own-risk activity, but these days grungy, up-and-coming East Village has become a destination worthy of its own adventure! If one thing’s for sure, it’s that this budding downtown neighborhood definitely isn’t hurting for quality cocktails… Bookmark my picks below for your next night out on the town!

Neighborhood – Start off at this neighborhood (pun, intended) staple on the cusp of East Village. Although craft beer is more their thing, you can still enjoy a superior cocktail, seeing as they have an award-winning speakeasy hidden in the back of the restaurant! Depending on your plans, jump on their website or talk to the host behind the false keg wall and try making a reservation to come back later in the evening. The speakeasy, Noble Experiment, is surely worth the return visit but requires a bit of planning ahead.

Harvest by The Patio – Head towards the ballpark and fuel up for the rest of your night with some delicious (and guilt-free) fare like the crispy lemon ginger artichokes and a cocktail made with local spirits at their adorable bar upstairs. I love stopping by this Patio Group spot for a healthy lunch, too!

You & Yours Distilling Co. – Pop over to California’s first urban destination distillery on 15th & G for a tasting flight or cocktail made entirely with spirits distilled on site. Side note: I’m obviously biased, but for real, come see us!

Monkey Paw – Just around the corner from You & Yours is beloved dive/brewery Monkey Paw. Although they’re far better known for their tap selection (which includes their own brews), Monkey Paw boasts a full bar and better-than-average cocktail program. Head over before the end of the year for a couple of limited edition beer cocktails featuring You & Yours’ spirits! 😉

El Dorado – Wrap things up at this classic late night spot known for their high-quality and exceptional-value craft cocktails. With any luck, you’ll catch the tail end of a killer DJ set too.

Any other favorite East Village cocktail spots of yours? Let me know!

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Everything I Ate & Drank in Charleston, SC

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{ Could not get over the beauty this city has to offer! }

It sure took me a while but I finally made it to Charleston! I’ve had my eyes on the southern city for some time… I even wrote “visit Charleston” on the list of (fun) things I wanted to do in 2017!  When I decided to enroll in a distilling workshop in Kentucky, I knew it was going be one of very few, if not the only, chances to hop over to South Carolina this year. My course finished on a Wednesday evening, so we stayed in Louisville one extra night, then rented a car and drove to one of my favorite cities, Nashville. The only way to fly to Charleston from Louisville was with a layover in Chicago, so we decided to spend a quick 12 hours in Nashville, – a.k.a. just enough time for dinner at Rolf & Daughters, drinks at the brand new Attaboy outpost and a few too many at Robert’s Western World! 😉 – then fly from Nashville to Charleston the following morning.

The main agenda points for the weekend were obviously food and drink. Charleston is without a doubt the current darling of the American culinary scene, and I wanted to fit in as many bites and sips as possible. Below is a full itinerary of what we ate and drank over the course of our weekend in Charleston!

Friday 2 pm. I originally had my eye on Xiao Bao Biscuit for a late lunch on arrival but failed to note they close for a couple of hours in the afternoon before dinner service. My plan B was 167 Raw, which was hilariously and vehemently recommended by our captain over the plane’s intercom during our descent into the Charleston airport. I’d had it on my list already but the captain’s blessing made the decision an easy one. Maybe I was just hungry, but 167 Raw was, hands down, one of the best seafood meals I’ve ever had! We started with a dozen oysters (and their house white), which we let the fishmonger choose for us, then moved on to a special that day – chilled corn soup with crab. I’m a sucker for anything with fresh sweet corn during the summer months so I had to. Post-apps we moved on to a shrimp po’boy which was to. die. for. The trio of sauces gracing the perfectly battered and flash-fried shrimp – a sriracha aioli, red beet reduction, and green goddess drizzle – sent the dish over the top. We then finished off with the fish taco of the day, grilled halibut, and a glass of the wine special that day, a natural orange wine that was super tannic and interesting. We felt silly ordering fish tacos, coming from San Diego after all. We sat there thinking, What could Southerners possibly do to top our home city’s signature dish?, but the sneaky trick of smearing avocado BETWEEN TWO TORTILLAS (double decker-style for my fellow T-bell fans) was a brilliant trick I will not soon forget.

Friday, 7:30 pm. Pre-dinner drinks at our hotel’s rooftop bar, The Watch.

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{ Creme de Violette libation at The Watch }

Friday, 8:30 pm. I’d made reservations weeks earlier for Sean Brock’s tasting menu only McCrady’s. Hidden behind his more casual spot, McCrady’s Tavern, sits a private kitchen and dining room that is both staffed and decorated impeccably. All 12+ courses (or “interactions,” as they’re called) were stunning but the standouts were the cobia with corn and marigold and the sorbet with summer flowers. I have to mention that what actually made the meal for us were the wine pairings! We usually skip wine pairings at fancy tasting menu spots, seeing as you’re likely already paying a good chunk of change for dinner, but we decided that I’d do the pairings and Luke would do a glass of white, then a red as the meal progressed. I’m so happy we did it this way because the pairing pours were so generous that we easily shared the glass with each dish, and were so, so impressed. Funny enough, the Sommelier there, Myers, turned out to be one of Luke’s old coworkers from his Market days!

Friday, 11 pm. Aforementioned Myers sent us to see his friends at The Dewberry hotel’s lobby bar. The bartender served up an incredible night cap with an amaro and all kinds of other delicious things I’ve now sadly forgotten. Turns out, the night cap wasn’t that night’s final “cap”. We got so excited talking distilling and cocktail culture and Charleston vs. San Diego with the Dewberry crew that by the time we left, we’d partaken in no less than two manhattans, a boulevardier and perhaps one too many Army & Navy’s, snaquiri style. 😉

Charleston-Distillerista-1{ our cozy and spacious room at The Restoration }

Saturday, 8:30 am. Our hotel, The Restoration, drops off a picnic basket full of breakfast goodies of your choosing each morning, as a part of the room rate. We went all out the first morning to see what we liked – croissant, English muffin, housemade butter, country ham, granola and yogurt parfaits, Charleston tea and delicious coffee. We made a note to order an extra helping of the yummy country ham the next day!

Charleston-Distillerista-3{ the immaculately preserved Aiken Family Library at the Aiken Rhett House }

Saturday, 1 pm. After a bike ride around South of Broad and tour of the Aiken Rhett house, we snagged a Lyft over to The Obstinate Daughter. Although we were hoping for more seafood options, we loved our lunch at the highly recommended Sullivan’s Island staple. We started off with a gorgeous crab salad on pumpernickel toast and the gem salad, then split an incredible orecchiette with fresh summer corn (told ya I can’t help myself), nduja, peppers, chile, parsley, and parmesan. The pasta was one of my favorite dishes of the whole weekend!

Charleston-Distillerista-13 { a (not so pretty) screenshot of a boomerang of our rooftop cheers at Revelry lol }

{ a (not so pretty) screenshot of a boomerang of our rooftop cheers at Revelry lol }

Saturday 3 pm. After a stroll along the beach and a peek at the lighthouse on Sullivan’s Island, we headed back towards the city to check out Revelry Brewing Co. Enjoying a cold beer on their rooftop deck, overlooking the city and watching a famous southern rain storm roll in was definitely a high point of the weekend!

{ Hiding out from the rain at the Nathaniel Russell House }

Saturday, 8 pm. After hiding out from the rain with a few indoor activities, we headed up to North King for our southern fried chicken fix at Leon’s Oyster & Fine Poultry. Although not thoroughly sold on the fried chicken, we loved the atmosphere and cocktails!

Saturday, 9 pm. Even though we had an early morning the next day, we decided to fit in one more spot and grab an after dinner drink at the bar at The Ordinary. Upon hearing we hailed from San Diego, the bartender ordered us the ceviche on the spot! Not entirely satisfied with our dinner choice, the gesture was so sweet and appreciated! As if that wasn’t enough, we ordered a fried oyster slider to round out the night. For drinks, I ordered one of their daiquiris with a port cask finished rum (riffs on the classic cocktail being their claim to fame) and Luke had a classic Daquiri. Casual bartender of the year then surprised me with an Old Tom Gin Last Word after overhearing my love for Old Tom Gin! Night. Made.

Saturday, 10 pm. Couldn’t pass up a Jeni’s scoop on the way home, #sorrynotsorry.

Sunday, 7 am. We sleepily scarfed down more country ham and English muffin before heading out on an early morning walking tour.

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{ enchanting Duelers’ Alley, discovered on our walking tour }

Sunday, 1 pm. Brunch at Hominy Grill. What we thought was a local favorite turned out to be more of a tourist trap. Not super impressed. Wish we would have hit our second choice, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit.

Sunday, 2 pm. Cocktails at The Darling Oyster Bar. Saddling up to their drop dead gorgeous bar with a Lillet Royale – Lillet Blanc, Brut Rosé and orange bitters – was the perfect way to cap off the trip!

Safe to say, I can’t wait to head back to Charleston! I’ve already booked a trip in the spring for the Charleston Food & Wine Festival. Tell me, have you been to Charleston? What other spots did I miss? I’ll be sure to put them on my list for next time!

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72 Hours in Cabo San Lucas

About three months into opening You & Yours, after almost three years (!!!) of planning, to say I was ready for a little break was an understatement. As soon as I felt the tasting room was in a good place operations-wise, I started scheming where we could take off for a few nights. Although we’d visited Cabo several times prior to this trip, the combination of having about a zillion Southwest Airlines points (perks of all those start-up costs!) and a newly offered non-stop flight from San Diego sealed the deal.

We took off on a Sunday, returning on a Wednesday, so as not to miss too much of service. After landing and nabbing a shuttle from the airport, we arrived at our hotel. A friend of ours graciously offered his corporate rate code for The Cape, A Thompson Hotel, otherwise, it would deeeeeeefinitely have not been in the budget. Super grateful for the hookup though because I’m a sucker for fancy accommodations and The Cape is top-notch. As a lover of hospitality, every aspect of our stay was a dream. The room, decor, views, pool, completely private beach (hard to come by in southern Cabo, and on a prime surf break no less) and most of all, the wealth of dining and drinking options – including a restaurant helmed by one of my favorite chefs, Enrique Olvera – all had us swooning.

72-Hours-Cabo-day-1        { getting acclimated }

Sunday 

Starving by the time we arrived, we dropped our bags and went straight for lunch & cocktails at the pool bar. Delicious steak tostadas and ceviche were consumed v v quickly, then washed down with refreshing Mezcal libations.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset  { the first of many Mezcal cocktails }

Coming back to life after some food, we ran to the room to throw on our swim suits and headed back down to the pool. It felt so nice to just relax, sip drinks and soak up the sun. I tried to start a book but was too antsy. I was so happy to just be away that I couldn’t concentrate.

Several more hours were spent sipping cocktails in and beside the pool after we made friends with a lovely, newly married couple from Mexico City. We chatted for a while, sharing our love for their incredible city and lost track of time. Once we felt sunset nearing we raced up to shower and change so we could sip yet more cocktails upstairs at the rooftop bar.

72-Hours-Cabo-rooftop-nightcap { view from the rooftop }

Once the sun had dipped below the horizon we headed out for a casual dinner at La Hacienda. La Hacienda is located at a resort nearby and their upscale Mexican food and al fresco patio area never disappoint. Barely able to keep our eyes open by the end of the meal, we headed back to The Cape for an early night.

Monday

We thought (incorrectly) that breakfast was included so we loaded up at the surprisingly impressive buffet. Turns out we were wrong but thankfully we enjoyed it so much that it was ultimately worth the $55 per person. Green juices, fresh coconuts, tons of seasonal fruit, a full cheese and charcuterie station, platters of cured and smoked fish, a tower of Mexican pastries plus tons of typical hot American breakfast items made for a filling first meal of the day. We rolled out of the hotel and into a Taxi to hit town.

72-Hours-Cabo-breakfast-1{ coffees with a view }

Desperate to walk off our breakfast, we cruised around on foot for a while once being dropped off by the marina. We wanted to gauge our own interest in a potential half day fishing trip and spoke to a few guides along our walk but ultimately decided against it and headed back to the hotel pool, but not before stopping at our favorite dockside bar for a Pacifico and some people/seal watching.

72-Hours-Cabo-Pacfico-DocksideAfter more ceviche and cocktails poolside we went up to the room for a leisurely nap in anticipation of fun dinner plans.

Having been to El Farallon on a previous trip without Luke, I knew I had to go back and take him with. Once you’ve arrived at the Resort at Pedregal where the restaurant is located, you’re escorted through the property down to a gorgeous, dramatic cliffside. After getting checked in, you’re invited to enjoy the champagne bar while listening to the waves pound the rocks below. There’s no menu, you just order from a case of fresh fish, all caught that day. Once you pick out your fish (or lobster, prawns, etc.) and give your order to the kitchen on the way to your table, you’re served three courses with your choice of two sides alongside your main. The snapper was incredible and every course was beautifully presented. If you’re in the market for an upscale dining experience while in Cabo, I can’t recommend this place enough.

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{ Pit stop for a photo opp at the Resort at Pedregal }

Still high on our exceptional meal, we headed back into town for drinks at my beloved Jungle Bar. Having spent a leeeetle bit of time in Cabo back in high school, this divey outdoor bar with rainbow-hued shots holds a soft spot in my heart. After perhaps the most contrasting post-dinner drinks, we hit up trendy Bar Esquina at the Bahia Hotel for some live music. The Bahia Hotel, by the way, is a great – albeit beach access-less – boutique hotel option in downtown Cabo. We stayed there a few years ago for Luke’s birthday and loved it.

Tuesday

We slept in a bit and headed to the spa for a free yoga class The Cape offers to guests on Tuesday mornings at 9 am. The class was exactly the type of yoga you want on vacation after a night of drinking – super relaxed with lots of slow moving stretches and ample chav-asana time.

72-Hours-Cabo-Breakfast-2{ the sweetest breakfast set up }

After hitting the buffet again post-yoga (it was that good), we headed back to town in search of a boat cruise. After some deliberation, we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best, choosing one of the 4-hour snorkeling/booze cruises. While the snorkeling was fun, I would not recommend the cruise itself, hence why I’m not providing specific company details. The provided lunch was barely edible and “unlimited” beer was limited to cans of Coors Light.

Once back on dry land we debated sticking around town for more drinks and people watching but couldn’t convince ourselves to miss out on our last afternoon by the pool. The hotel was seriously so nice, it was only place we wanted to be.

72-Hours-Cabo-room-drinks{ pre-dinner drinks on our balcony: tequila + cucumber + Topo Chico }

72-Hours-Cabo-balcony{ epic daybed situation on our balcony }

For our final dinner, we stayed on property to check out the aforementioned Manta. Being a huge fan of Chef Enrique Olvera’s other restaurants Pujol in Mexico City and Cosme in New York, my expectations were high. Unfortunately, they weren’t met but we still managed to enjoy the meal. We ended up being seated next to a sweet couple from Luke’s native New Zealand and continued the evening with them up at the rooftop bar for a nightcap.

Wednesday

With the end of our trip nearing, we woke early to try to squeeze in as much pool time as possible. It sadly took us until our final morning to discover the gem of a coffee shop on the lobby bar level. We ordered two iced coffees and took them down to the beach with us for one last stroll.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset{ post-caffeine beach read sesh}

Being up so early, we scored the best seats in the house – cushioned loungers on a small patio between the pool deck upstairs and beach below. I finished How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell (ended up getting hooked later in the trip) and shared a spicy chicken wrap with Luke before heading up to shower and pack (depressed all over again just thinking about it).

Sad to go home so soon but happy to have been able to sneak away, we headed back to the airport. So as not to prolong the vacay-withdrawals we shocked ourselves back to reality pretty quick with a 50-person Yelp Elite event at the distillery just hours after returning home. Back at it!

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Cocktail Crawl: Marina District & Embarcadero

My bachelorette pad (that I kindly share with my bf) technically falls within the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego but straddles the line that crosses over into the Waterfront/Embarcadero/Marina district of downtown San Diego. When I first moved into my place almost six years ago the in-between location was quiet, had an interesting mix of demographics and was definitely devoid of any hip places to eat or drink. Fast forward just five short years and it’s a bustling mecca of great food and drinks, with a strong, like-minded young professional and millennial presence. Next time you’ve got friends in town or are just looking for something to do on a gorgeous afternoon, follow along on my Marina District Cocktail Crawl!

#1. CARNITAS SNACK SHACK AT THE EMBARCADERO

Cocktail-Crawl-Marina-District-Distillerista-1{ a fine place for pork (and great cocktails!) }

Start things off with drinks and a view at Carnitas Snack Shack along the Embarcadero. In addition to a slew of cocktails featuring local spirits, they make a mean Old Tom Gimlet, one of my favorite classic cocktails. And since I apparently like to kick these things off with fries, you must order CSS’s spicy seasoned ones. Factor in the smoky bacon ketchup and they’re can’t-miss.

#2. PUESTO AT THE HEADQUARTERS

Cocktail-Crawl-Marina-District-Puesto{ Cozy up to the indoor/outdoor bar or lounge outside by one of the fire pits at Puesto }

Continue along the waterfront to Puesto at The Headquarters. Their fresh strawberry margarita is my idea of a perfect marg – not too sweet, not too tart – and their off-menu Cali taco is the stuff of dreams. If you’re not in the mood for a margarita, try one of their Mezcal cocktails or a beer from neighboring Tijuana’s burgeoning craft brewery scene.

#3. THE LION’S SHARE

lionsshare-Cocktail-Crawl-Distillerista{ The Lion’s Share’s bar, complete with on-trend taxidermy & faux vintage art }

From there you can crawl, literally, across Harbor Drive and less than half a block down Kettner Blvd to The Lion’s Share. Choose one of their exceptional cocktails off the extensive menu or ask for bartender’s choice. I like to request “gin, rocks, savory,” and more often than not I end up with a delicious basil and bell pepper gimlet sort of thing that is out of this world.

#4. ROY’S HAWAIIAN FUSION AT THE WATERFRONT MARRIOT

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Head back to the waterfront, through Seaport Village and towards the boats. Although not exactly the first place I think of when I want a craft cocktail, Hawaiian fusion chain restaurant Roy’s waterfront location at the Marriot has a trifecta that’s hard to pass up: enjoying the sunset on their al fresco patio with a Mai Tai, asushi roll and some people watching thrown in for good measure.

#5. THE WHISKEY HOUSE

Cocktail-Crawl-Distillerista-Marina-Whiskey-House{ just a small sliver of The Whiskey House’s whiskey selection }

Take a stroll along the marina and watch the boats come in before crossing over the convention center steps to the Whiskey House for a night cap. In addition to over 1700 (yes, that’s seventeen hundred!) whiskeys to choose from, they have an impressive cocktail menu, twenty taps pouring local beers and a thoughtful wine list. Best of all, whiskey enthusiasts with a sweet tooth can nibble on some Laphroaig ice cream or a Bourbon brownie sundae to finish off the night!

 

What are your favorite spots in the Marina District? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!

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Cocktail Crawl: Little Italy San Diego

Introducing a new series: Cocktail Crawls! These posts will act as my version of neighborhood guides, complete with my favorite spots to drink, chat and snack. First up is my home turf: Little Italy!

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1. Kick things off at Crack ShackRichard Blais’ all day chicken and eggs concept, with a frothy Frosé and some schmaltz fries (both pictured above) to fuel up for an afternoon of drinking. Theirs is one of the better versions of the white-hot trend I’ve had, made with Giffard strawberry liqueur and pureed berries. 2266 Kettner Blvd

2. Head a few blocks south for a refreshing Diego by the Bay at Kettner Exchange. It’s not on the menu anymore but chances are they’ll still shake one up for you. Gin, grapefruit, rhubarb bitters and soda create the perfect golden hour sipper. If you’re feeling another bite, go for the shishito peppers or spicy shrimp. The latter are an exact replica of Nobu’s rock shrimp creamy spicy. 2001 Kettner Blvd

3. Hike one block east up to India Street and cruise down to Prep Kitchen. The cozy upstairs space overlooks a bustling corner of Little Italy, perfect for warming up with a Comfort Blanket – orange tea-infused Bourbon, vanilla and orange – and some people watching. 1660 India St

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4. Peel yourself away and walk less than a block to San Diego’s OG craft cocktail mecca, Craft & Commerce. Their newly renovated and expanded space is definitely a sight to behold. I’ve been a big fan of the Lay Lady Lay (pictured above), a lambic beer cocktail, since they first opened in 2010. Fun fact: it’s one of the few cocktails they’ve brought back from the original menu. Plus, sneaking in a low ABV cocktail on a crawl probably isn’t the worst idea, #amiright? 675 W Beech St

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5. Last but not least, cap things off at Bracero Cocina (pictured above) across the street. You really can’t go wrong here but my favorites on the cocktail menu are the No Mames, a balanced and warming Mezcal cocktail, or the Passion of the Cristo with St. George Chile Vodka & Campari. And don’t even thinking about leaving without a Mexiterranean Adobada taco (or two) and some Shrimp & Bone Marrow Sopes. Thank me later! 1490 Kettner Blvd

What are your favorite spots for cocktails in Little Italy? What San Diego neighborhood would you like to crawl through next? Let me know in the comments below!

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Summer Drink Diary 2.0

Distillerista-Drink-DiaryWell, it’s a few months since summer left us, but I couldn’t resist rounding up all the delicious things I sipped on this past season! I love scrolling through my camera roll and being transported back to an event, garnish, weekend getaway or combination of flavors that was so arresting I had to stop and snap a photo. I hope you enjoy too!

Drink-Diary-June

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Weekend Brunch // Oddly enough, summer 2016 kicked off just as last year’s did! With weekend brunch and fitting cocktails. I was dying to try The Cheese Store‘s new brunch menu (bagels! quiche! baked eggs!) and their prickly pear mimosa did not disappoint.

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“Working remotely” // My sweet friend and her fam invited me on their annual trip to Mexico and although I had just about a million things to do at the time, I couldn’t pass up a chance to relax a bit and hang with one of my “second” families! There were several margaritas taken down over the course of the trip of course but for our last night we opted for sparkling rosé while we waited for our table at El Farallon.

Drink-Diary-July

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Vegas// We took a short but incredibly fun trip to Las Vegas with friends for the pretty much the sole purpose of eating and drinking all our favorite things! This cocktail above is always my first stop once we’ve checked into our hotel: the Mexican Gin & Tonic from Jose Andres’ China Poblano at the Cosmopolitan. I love the flavors so much, I recreated the drink here for the blog!

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Vegas, cont. // This was an epic Manhattan from one of my all-time favorite restaurants in Vegas, Giada at the Cromwell. Giada’s namesake establishment is one of fewer than five places in the United States to use a custom ice maker that carves her signature “G” inside (INSIDE!) the ice sphere. #Goals.

fullsizerender-15Iron Chef: CITRUS! // When your dear friends throw an Iron Chef battle and you’re competitive as I am, it’s go big or go home. My team’s dish was the crab cake slider & yuzu sour (spoiler alert: we WON!), but this opening cocktail was a total hit. Our friend Eder mixed them up and garnished each with a blistered shishito. P.S. My recipe for the Yuzu Gin Sour is coming to the blog soon so stay tuned!

fullsizerender-12Post-work cocktails on the patio // A long work day and warm evening called for this “Flight to Paradise” from my Speakeasy Co. subscription box. Learn how to make it here! RIP that cute cocktail pick to my garbage disposal.

Drink-Diary-August

fullsizerender-5Family happy hour // My man and I took his (New Zealand-hailing) parents to visit my hometown and meet some of my extended family. The kiwis definitely got the “Texas” experience, as it was 95+ degrees the entire trip. Luckily my mom had plenty of ice, a brand new blender and some mixed berries on their last legs. I just added a bit of lemon juice, some vodka and topped them off with mint and soda water!

fullsizerender-9Brunching again // The summer wound down the same way it started – with some delightful brunch cocktails. A new restaurant I’m loving in San Diego right now is Trust and their mimosa-Aperol spritz hybrid is a thing of beauty. I dare you to have just one!

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Tequila vs. Mezcal // Perhaps the most satisfying event of the summer was the Tequila v. Mezcal summer bash at new Barrio Logon venue, The Goldleaf Project. A Miho Experience stole the show once again with their incredible cocktails (see menu below) and wait for it… a NACHO BAR! Sorry, nachos not pictured but I promise you they were BOMB.

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Aztec Cure

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I can’t wait for this Saturday’s pool party I’m co-hosting with my pals and fellow bloggers/entrepreneurs/small business owners Cecelia, Krystel and Kali at the Westgate Hotel. My excitement is partially because I get to frolic around a rooftop pool with friends (and hopefully meet some of you!), but mostly because I get to sip on one of these Aztec Cures.

When planning this pool party a couple months back, the girls and I took one for the team and tested EVERY. SINGLE. cocktail on the Westgate’s bar menu. For research purposes of course. It’s a tough job but somebody had to do it and this Mezcal & strawberry number was by far my fave. I thought I’d recreate it for you here in honor of this weekend’s festivities. If you’re in the San Diego area, I hope you’ll join us for the fun! Tickets are just $25 and include a $25 voucher to Vocabulary Boutique – win win!

Aztec Cure. Makes 1 cocktail.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberry halves.
  2. Add Mezcal, lemon juice, agave, bitters and a handful of ice to shaker. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
  3. Strain into a glass over fresh ice and top with soda water.
  4. Garnish with an edible flower & enjoy!

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{ Photos by Bryan Miller }

 

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#VocabPoolParty Instagram Giveaway

IMG_3482Have you heard?! I’m cohosting a summer pool party in honor of Vocabulary Boutique‘s 7th Birthday at the Westgate Hotel next Saturday August 13th. As a thank you to our loyal readers and followers, my cohosts and I are giving away TWO FREE TICKETS to the party. Head on over to my Instagram to enter!

IMG_3448ENTER to win HERE

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{ All photos by Bryan Miller }

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You’re Invited: Summer Pool Party at The Westgate Hotel

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For those of you in the San Diego area, I hope you’ll join me for a pool party on Saturday, August 13th at The Westgate Hotel downtown. The Westgate’s rooftop pool is straight up paradise and most importantly, the cocktails will be flowing thanks to resident mixologist Irving Gonzalez. Chef Fabrice Hardel will be serving up French Riviera-inspired dishes (in addition to a poolside seafood and raw bar) and DJ Aleko will be providing all the summer vibes. I look forward to meeting you!

Details and tickets here.

IMG_3619{ My co-hosts, from left to right: Kali, myself, Cecelia and Krystel }

IMG_3823IMG_3811-2{ All photos by Bryan Miller }

 

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